Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.
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Sunday, June 2, 2013

War on women

This post has been updated since first posted.

It continues. Women are victims of abuse and sometimes die as a result. In fact, women are 500% more likely to die in a home with a gun than one without. Think about that. Why are women not screaming even louder than they are about gun violence prevention? Can their voices be heard by the mostly male contingent of lawmakers who seem to ignore what's going on all around them? What's going on? Let's take a look at the linked article:
"Many people think about gun control in the United States as an issue of legislation, having only to do with the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This line of thinking asserts that gun control affects everyone equally. Like many political and legislative issues, however, gun control affects women far more than it does men. Until such time as every person on the planet is safe from every other person that is bigger and stronger than they are, women will be more profoundly affected by issues related to violence.
April 17th, 2013, was a sad day for 90% of Americans, when the U. S. Senate voted down proposed gun control measures. These additional background checks would not have been a ban on guns by any means. When a gun is purchased from a licensed dealer, a background check is already performed. This new legislation would have required a background check for purchases made online and at gun shows.
Whatever your stance is on gun control, the scariest part of this is that the Senate went completely against the wishes of the people they represent. Even if you were personally against the bill, you have to stop and consider what this means for you as a citizen of the United States. Your elected officials are not listening to you.
Of course, this comes as little surprise to women in the U.S. American women have been running headlong into that particular wall for some time now. Nearly 700 new pieces of legislation were put forth in the first quarter of 2013 to try to control, restrict and inhibit women’s reproductive rights, many going against Constitutional law.
Here’s where gun control becomes a feminist issue: To start, the government listens even less often to its female constituents than it does to its male constituents. Whatever opinion women may have about this issue, it’s not going to be heard in the first place."
And, more importantly from the article is the fact that women are more likely to be affected by gun violence when firearms are present:
The second big reason gun control is a feminist issue is because of the domestic violence statistics associated with firearms. Women are 500% more likely to die from a domestic violence situation in a home where there is a firearm. According to the Violence Policy Center, “A 1976 to 1987 analysis of Federal Bureau of Investigation data revealed that more than twice as many women were shot and killed by their husbands or intimate acquaintances than were murdered by strangers using firearms, knives, or any other means.” This same site lists numerous statistics and studies, including the fact that half of the women who were victims of homicide in 2000, where the weapon was known, were killed by firearms.
These statistics are not hidden in some dark little hole where no one can find them. These statistics are readily available from a massive number of sites just by using a search engine and typing in the search string “domestic violence firearm.” The statistics are backed up by numerous academic and government studies, as well as studies done by law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. What it boils down to is very simple: Women get killed in domestic situations by firearms far more often than men do. There’s no getting around it.
There is legislation to acknowledge the disparity with regard to gun control and domestic violence. The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban is meant to keep firearms out of the hands of those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. Basically, if you’ve  been convicted of any form of domestic violence, you cannot legally own a firearm. This might seem like a great thing, but with the current state of legislation on gun control measures in the U. S., this ban is extremely easy to get around. The very measure that 90% of Americans were hoping would pass on April 17th would have made a significant contribution to enforcing the DVOGB. By making sure that all gun sales were subject to criminal background checks, the people who are banned from owning firearms would not be able to simply buy their guns from Craigslist or gun shows.
And more about gun legislation that may or may not happen:
People are not being asked to give up their guns. Nobody is coming to your house to yank your manky old rifle out of your cold dead hands, no matter how many times you tell someone that’s what they’re going to have to do. The only thing anyone is looking to do is to try to inject some common sense into preventing violence. If someone is doing something that works, then maybe it’s worth taking at look at how they’re doing it. It doesn’t hurt to try something on for size for a while, and see how it fits. If it doesn’t, you take it off and try something else on.
We live in a time when fully automatic guns can spray bullets at a rate of 800 to 900 rounds per minute, although that is severely limited by the capacity of the magazine. Semi-automatics are physically capable of firing at the same speed, but their firing rate is limited by the speed with which a human being can pull a trigger – a somewhat slower rate, to be sure.
We no longer live in a time when the most highly-trained marksmen could fire four rounds per minute. So we are required to keep up with our technology. Two hundred years ago we did not have laws banning child pornography on the Internet. It wasn’t because there wasn’t any exploitation of minors going on at that time, because there certainly was. It was because there was no Internet. Two hundred years ago we had murder, too, but we did not have fully-automatic rifles with astronomical firing rates and high-capacity magazines.
The final point that needs to be addressed is the constant cry of those saying the amendments to the U.S. Constitution should be inviolate, and that the forefathers never meant for the Constitution to be changed. If you’re one of those people, it’s time for you to buy a dictionary. The word amendment means change.
Speaking of the dangers to women when guns are around the home, yesterday I walked for Kay Marie Sisto who was shot to death 3 years ago as she was trying to leave her marriage. Her photo is at the top of this post. The most dangerous time for women is as they are leaving a relationship or right after they have left. Too many women have been victims of domestic murders. Firearms account for at least 50% of gun deaths in most years in Minnesota. From the 2012 Femicide Report:
While the percentage of femicides using firearms fluctuates some year to year, murder with firearms is the most frequent weapon of choice and is the weapon used in about 50% of the domestic violence homicides (60% in 2010, 52% in 2011 and 50% in 2012) , supporting the studies showing that possession of firearms can increase the risk of lethality. In light of current debates regarding guns and gun control legislation, it is helpful to consider these statistics. When there is a history of domestic violence, we should be looking at the question of access to firearms. 
I have come to know Kay's family because of my involvement with Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. Her sister, Kim, and I have a lot in common. We did not ask to join the club of people who have lost sisters in domestic shootings. But here we are, trying to make a difference and educate the public. We will keep doing our work as long as women, and others, are abused and shot to death in senseless and preventable shootings. Women's voices can be very strong and very loud. I was part of the first Million Mom March in 2000 and beyond. We fought for reasonable gun measures and we fought against weakening the gun laws. Unfortunately, our lawmakers were not fighting with us or for the victims. They were fighting with their own need to be loved by the corporate gun lobby. Shameful as that has been, it is beginning to change after 12/14. New groups have formed, like Moms Demand Action for Gunsense, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Newtown Action Alliance, and many new Facebook and Twitter feeds. We are not going away because we are better than this and we have had enough of the inaction of our lawmakers in the face of the devastation of daily shooting deaths and injuries. Polling numbers continue to show strong and broad support for the failed Senate measure to require background checks on all gun sales:
Two-thirds of Americans wanted lawmakers to pass a bill expanding background checks on gun sale purchases, according to a new poll.
Sixty-five percent say the Senate should have backed expanded checks, with 29 percent saying lawmakers were right not to pass the bill in a Gallup poll released on Monday.
A strong majority also say that if they could, they would vote for a measure requiring background checks on all gun purchases by an 83 to 17 split.
The poll’s findings, showing strong support for background checks, comes as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who co-authored the bill with Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), said he “absolutely” plans to bring the legislation back to the Senate floor and believes it could pass.
"I truly do," Manchin said on "Fox News Sunday." "The only thing we've asked for is that people read the bill."
Even gun owners are getting in to the action. Take this woman gun owner, for example, who is upset with the NRA- for good reasons. She's giving up hunting because of what happened at Newtown on 12/14. She has a first grader. From the article:
I have never seen a gun law that would impede any lawful or sane individual from any of the rational or common uses for guns  – and I come from a gun-toting Wyoming family.
Let me make it clear, for my second amendment loving cousins and all those who take the time to read this : Nobody wants Grampy’s coyote shooter. Nobody wants my twenty-two. Nobody is coming for old west sharpshooters, skeet shooters, the weapons of honorable veterans, the pearl handled revolver sold on Pawn Stars or the guns I have personally observed Ted Nugent use in his pursuit of wild game on shows aired on the OutDoor Channel.
I have not seen a regulation that would stop me or anybody I personally know, or even any responsible gun owner I have ever observed, from procuring game, from practicing gun sportsman and marksmanship, or from use on the family farm or in the family home.
None.
Not one liberal gun control law would harm any of those people or their second amendment rights.
On the flip side, I can think of women I know, women I will never meet, women I’ve known and women I love dearly who are now and will be further impacted by the 694 new proposed laws infringing on our 14th amendment right to health and privacy which include a right to an abortion and other private health choices.
In listening to the sound bites of today, one would think there was a War on Guns instead of a War on Women.
Former VP wannabe, Paul Ryan, may dream of a country where abortion is never considered. I dream of one where the constitutionally protected right to life and the pursuit of happiness that the GOP is so concerned about when they think it applies to zygotes, is never threatened by a gun toting intruder in a first grade classroom.
I dream of an America where lock downs in elementary schools aren’t even considered.
When living, breathing, first graders can learn to read, safe from lunatics and gunfire… Then I propose that we can stop and go out to the shooting range and blow some shit up just to let off steam in our oh so destructive patriotism.
Until then, this gun owner is abstaining from the scent of sulfur and burnt gun powder.
I wonder, how many gun owners are there, like me, who are willing to respond, not by hoarding bullets but by hanging their gun up until this is solved?
I betcha that if enough of us told the gun industry that we aren’t spending more money until they drop the fallacious propaganda storm and start contributing to a meaningful gun responsibility conversation, that good, meaningful laws might come pouring out of the woodwork.
I love it when reasonable gun owners speak out and speak up for common sense solutions to our nation's public health and safety gun violence epidemic.

UPDATE:

Unfortunately, a Minneapolis area woman has been shot to death in a domestic dispute as she was trying to leave a relationship. From the article:
Gustafson said the woman who was killed was trying to move out at the time. A moving van was out front when the shots were fired.
The man who was killed was the suspected gunman and had been in a relationship with the woman who was trying to move out, Gustafson added. While declining to characterize the deaths as a case of murder-suicide, he said no one else fired any shots.
Neighbors, including one who lives next door, identified those killed as Johnny L. Simpson, 65, and Nancy A. Sullivan, 57.
The two who were wounded, a man and a woman, did not live at the house but are related to the couple, the spokesman said. The wounded were taken to Regions Hospital, but there was no immediate word on their conditions, Gustafson added. (...) 
Batiller said he never noticed anything unusual at the home, where the couple would host friends on occasion for barbecues. He said he and his siblings would sometimes swim in the family’s back yard pool.
“They seemed like normal people,” Batiller said.
He said he saw the man doing yard work on Sunday and “he was laughing and looked happy to me.”
Yes, they were "normal" people. This happens far too often. Every day shootings occur amongst people who know each other and result from disputes in a moment of anger or despair. This is why having a gun in the home is so dangerous. It's too easy to end a dispute by snuffing out the life of another. And then the shooter too often shoots him/herself. The guilt is too much. The punishment will be horrendous. And often, the shooter was suicidal in the first place but wants to take another person along in his/her anguished state of mind.

UPDATE #2:

You really can't make this stuff up. As I have written, the war on women continues. A jury in Texas has acquitted a man who shot a woman "escort" because she wouldn't have sex with him. Read the unbelievable story below, from the article:
During closing arguments Tuesday, Gilbert's defense team conceded the shooting did occur but said the intent wasn't to kill. Gilbert's actions were justified, they argued, because he was trying to retrieve stolen property: the $150 he paid Frago. It became theft when she refused to have sex with him or give the money back, they said.
Gilbert testified earlier Tuesday that he had found Frago's escort ad on Craigslist and believed sex was included in her $150 fee. But instead, Frago walked around his apartment and after about 20 minutes left, saying she had to give the money to her driver, he said.
That driver, the defense contended, was Frago's pimp and her partner in the theft scheme.
The Texas law that allows people to use deadly force to recover property during a nighttime theft was put in place for “law-abiding” citizens, prosecutors Matt Lovell and Jessica Schulze countered. It's not intended for someone trying to force another person into an illegal act such as prostitution, they argued.
Disgusting and beyond.

So a woman "escort" who did not use force or display a weapon but stole some money deserves to be shot to death? And the shooter gets away with murder because of a ridiculous law pushed by the corporate gun lobby and passed by lawmakers under the thumb of this mythically powerful lobby? There's something terribly wrong with our country's gun laws and gun culture. We are better than this.



 


1 comment:

  1. --I thank you for your pro-active powerful voice for women and all humanity.

    You. Rock. Like. Gaga.

    Love to you, my friend. Xx

    ReplyDelete